Volume 2 | Issue 2 | November 2014

Article 1 – Compelling Comprehensible Input, Academic Language and School Libraries

There is abundant research confirming that we pass through three stages on the path to full development of literacy, which includes the acquisition of academic language. The stages are: hearing stories, doing a great deal of self-selected reading, followed by reading for our own interest in our chosen specialization. At stages two and three, the reading is highly interesting or compelling to the reader. It is also specialized; there is no attempt to cover a wide variety. The research confirms that the library, in particular school library, makes a powerful contribution at all three stages: for many living in poverty it is the only place to find books for recreational reading or specialized interest reading, with the librarian serving as the guide on how to locate information as well as supplier of compelling reading. The expertise of certified librarians is pivotal for compelling reading in a foreign language, such as EFL worldwide and ELLs in the US, as well as compelling reading in children’s heritage languages. read more

Article 2 – The Page IS The Stage: From Picturebooks to Drama with Young Learners

This paper shows the close link between picturebooks and theatre, and how the books can be dramatized with young learners. In this process the children can creatively draw on and manipulate the language they are acquiring while becoming increasingly autonomous in their learning. The task-based approach promoted by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which has shown its worth for the acquisition of communicative competences in language classes at secondary level and above, is not always easily applicable in primary classes. The young learners’ often limited linguistic abilities make project work and meta-language discussion difficult in the foreign language. Teaching foreign languages through drama can provide an interesting solution. read more

Article 3 – From Picturebook to Multilingual Collage

This paper discusses a project with a small group of children learning English as an a language (EAL) at a pre-school in Scotland. The project however could be replicated across the globe, in any classroom with a diverse range of learners, with particular benefit to minority and newly arrived migrant children. At the project’s core was the aim to bring the children’s first language and culture into the classroom, drawing in particular on Cummin’s (1984) Common Underlying Proficiency model, which asserts that knowledge of one language can assist learners in their acquisition of another. The project used multicultural picturebooks to validate the learner’s experiences and culture, and then called on parents’ funds of knowledge to make the children’s first language visible in the classroom. This joint working between the children, parents and the pre-school culminated in the production of a multilingual collage – a prominent display that recognises the value of the children’s first language in the classroom, builds bridges between home and school and is reflective, and proud, of an increasingly multilingual Scotland. read more

Article 4 – Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are as an Example of Teaching Visual Literacy

This paper attempts to re-evaluate Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece Where the Wild Things Are in light of the more recent trends in teaching English as a foreign language. It has, for instance, become indisputable that today’s visual culture requires students to be visually literate, that is to be able to deal with visual images both receptively (comprehending and interpreting) and productively (creating and producing). Assuming this perspective, and referring also to ideological critique, the potential of Sendak’s work to aid students in their development of these competencies is assessed and briefly exemplified. It will be argued that Where the Wild Things Are is particularly conducive to fostering receptive visual literacy as it requires students to consider the relation between verbal and visual texts and forces them to engage in ‘reading the images’ (Oakley, 2010, p. 4). A focus on this relationship also opens up opportunities for the development of productive visual literacy. read more

Recommended Reads

McKee, David (1982). I Hate My Teddy Bear. London: Andersen Press.
Burgess, Melvin (2013). The Hit. Somerset: Chicken House.
Lewis, Ali (2011). Everybody Jam. London: Andersen Press.
Shimura, Takako (2011). Wandering Son (Vol. 1). Seattle: Fantagraphics.
read more

Book Reviews

Evelyn Arizpe, Teresa Colomer and Carmen Martinez-Roldán: Visual Journeys through Wordless Narratives: An International Enquiry with Immigrant Children and ‘The Arrival’.
Janice Bland: Children’s Literature and Learner Empowerment. read more